10:45 last night: I was semi-awake on the couch with the Biscuit's baby monitor sitting on the floor beside me when I heard the sound no mother wants to hear:
1 quick, dry cough followed by another quick, dry cough.
I awakened from my sleepish state, grabbed 2 clean towels from the linen closet, and headed into the Biscuit's bedroom to confirm my suspicions. As I suspected, I was in for another one of "those" nights. Flu season is in full-swing my friends and I have been a bad, bad mommy.
While I did finally manage to get my own flu shot this week, I had been unsuccessful at getting one for the Biscuit over the past month. Each time I planned for it, he ended up with a cold or a fever (rendering a vaccination attempt idiotic).
Back to the coughing. As most of you mommy and daddy's who've been through a night with a puking infant or toddler know, there are many different types of coughs that we listen for over our baby monitors. Much like the different cries of a baby (with meanings of hunger, pain, and fussiness), there are also basic cough sounds.
- The wet cough = congestion that traditionally goes along with a cold or upper respiratory infection
- The standard cough = general throat clearing associated with allergies or randoms in the throat
- The quick, dry cough (hack) = in isolation, may be associated with allergies or something going down the wrong way, gagging, etc.
- The quick dry cough = repeated more than once, almost always indicates puking
So I have my standard response to puking, something I guess you just figure out the first time it hits (no one EVER prepared me for what to do if your child is hurling in the middle of the night thank you very much Dr. Spock), but I thought I'd share my little tricks to help you keep your child as comfy as possible, while protecting your floors and clothing.
As I mentioned, I enter the room with 2 bath towels. I lay both across the floor horizontally in front of the crib/bed. The towel closest to the crib should be placed just slightly under the bed (to catch future overflows that certainly will come later in the night). This serves as the resting/move-to location for the puker and the staging area for later puke sessions. I immediately place the Biscuit on the towels so he is out of the primary puke zone/spill so I can strip the bed and bundle the mess-including all impacted lovies- to be laundered. I then quickly remake the bed (with another mattress protector).
Next I strip the Biscuit of the dirtied clothes and put fresh ones on. If I had the sense to grab a wet washcloth on the way, he's all the better for it. Else, I leave him on the towels while I run the batch of ewww ikkiness to the laundry and grab a washcloth on the way back. If you're lucky, you have a significant other to get the laundry washed (b/c u will probably need that other mattress cover later). I also have several backup lovies-the Biscuit has 1 favorite monkey named Oou Ahh-so I grab a fresh one from the secret hiding place.
Returning to the Biscuit, I cuddle and rock him back to sleep (giving ibuprofen if he has a fever and applying all of my typical fever techniques). For a stomach virus, I usually spend 20-30 minutes holding him during this first session waiting for that cough to come again. When it does, I quickly move us from the rocking chair to the towels (where I often have a plastic bowl or something for him to puke into) so we can isolate the mess to this area. I try to keep it on 1 towel so I can just pick that up after he finishes getting sick and grab a new one on the way back to the laundry.
Rinse and repeat. The time between is usually consistent for the first 3 pukes, but then gets longer until he's stopped. We've been through it so much, it's like clockwork now when it happens but I was absolutely terrified the first time (and it didn't seem fair to call my own mother at 2 AM, though she surely wouldn't have been upset).
Well, here's hoping you are all smarter than me and got your little kiddies all flu vaccined-up this year. If not, hope I help you out a bit with post-puke cleanup duty.
(and yes I left a secret dangling participle or 2 in there for those of you who want to tease me later)